June 2013

A short report on recent bicycling activities in the area, a preview of upcoming bicycling events, an excerpt from an old bicycling book, and a bicycling success story…all below! But in reverse order...

* * *

Why is bicycling good for you? There are a lot of reasons: it keeps you feeling good by building your cardio-vascular fitness, it saves you money when you use your bike to make local trips, it reduces your impact on the environment, it gives you a fun activity to do with family and friends, etc. But one of the key things it does is that it helps you control your weight.

Last year a customer at the bike shop bought a simple mountain bike. He weighed 330 pounds at the time and could only ride the bike about 2 miles before being tired and out of breath. But he stuck with it. Because of his weight he broke spokes on the bike. But he got them replaced and stuck with it. The other day he stopped in and told us that he had lost 85 pounds and now can ride his bike 30 miles at a time!

What were the keys to his weight loss? He found an activity that was enjoyable and he stuck with it. Bicycling isn’t the only activity that helps with controlling weight but it moves to the top of the list when combined with all of the other reasons why it is good for you.

* * *

In a column last winter I wrote about a few good bicycling books to read while waiting out the snow and ice: Cycling Past 50 (Joe Friel), Across Asia on a Bicycle (Thomas Gaskell and William Lewis Sachtleben), and Bike Snob (NYCBikeSnob).

Recently a book of bicycling tips was given to me. The book was written back in the days when 10-speed bikes were “top of the line”. Its title is simple: The Bike Book (Doug Colligan and Dick Teresi). Here’s a tip from this book on buying a 10-speed in 1979:

Don’t be too cheap. We won’t lie. A good 10-speed will cost you at least $135. In fact, $150 would be a safer amount. You can find one cheaper, sure, but don’t. It will most likely be a lemon. For $135-$150 you can get a moderately heavy (34-35 pounds) but reliable bike. A more sophisticated ---- and lighter ---- model of 28-32 pounds will cost $170-$200. Want one under 28 pounds? Ouch! Better rob a bank. We’re talking about several hundred dollars now ---- and you can pay over $1,000 if you want a 20-pound bike.”

A lot has changed since then but a good used 10-speed will probably still cost you $150 and if you want a 20-pound bike you will still pay over $1,000!

* * * 

July, August, and September each have special bike rides coming up and each ride requires registration:

  • The Firecracker Dash – Thursday, July 4. A 1 mile race along the route of the Ferguson 4th of July parade. Show up at the Plaza at 501 at 9:30am and race to January Wabash Park. It’s open to all runners and bicyclists ages 13 and older. It’s all for fun and the winners get bragging rights. I’ll be a loser no doubt but will have great time anyway. More info and the registration form at http://livewellferguson.com/main/live-well-events/firecracker-dash/.
  • 50th Annual Moonlight Ramble – “The World’s Original Nighttime Bike Ride”, Saturday, August 17. This year you will be able to pick up your t-shirt and registration packet in advance at a local bike shop. Choose which shop when you register online (hint: choose the Ferguson Bicycle Shop!). More info and online registration at http://www.moonlightramble.com/.
  • Historic Ferguson Bicycle Tour – Saturday, September 21. One of the large Trailnet rides will be coming to Ferguson. All of the Trailnet rides for the year are listed on calendars that are free and available at the Ferguson Bicycle Shop. Stop by and get one. For more info and to register for the ride, go to http://www.trailnet.org/events/bicycle-fun-club-rides.

And a few more upcoming rides to make note of:

  • Sunday, August 4: Sunday Parkways! Come out and play!
  • Saturday, August 10: Ride starting and ending at the Ferguson Farmers Market.
  • Saturday to Sunday, September 14-15: Overnight bicycle camping trip at Klondike Park. Another opportunity to experience a bike overnight. This ride will also be the Farmers Market ride for September.

* * * 

And lastly, a few short reports about recent bicycling activities in the area…twenty bicyclists rode the 5K/10K course during the Ferguson Twilight Run on May 18 and helped keep the runners safe. It was fun for the bicyclists and was appreciated by the runners and the race organizers…the Earn-a-Bike program here in Ferguson continues to roll along. Twelve young people graduated on June 10 and earned bikes. Another class starts July 1. If you know any young people who might be interested, go to FYIFergYouth.org or stop by the bike shop to find out more…the first Sunday Parkways on June 2 was our most unusual one yet. No streets were closed because Public Works and the Police Dept. had their hands full in the aftermath of the May 31 tornado that hit town.